LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Sustaining a balanced diet, implementing an effective workout and maintaining a healthy blood pressure range are concerns most Americans deal with on a daily basis.
Fortunately for those living in the Manatee and Sarasota area, an annual health expo in Lakewood Ranch has offered solutions and practices free of charge.
For the eighth consecutive year, the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and Lakewood Ranch Community Activities Corp. have teamed up to educate the public on the importance of health and wellness. The Lakewood Ranch Embrace a Life of Health & Wellness Expo will is set for 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday inside the main lobby of the Lakewood
Ranch Medical Center, 8330 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
The event, and parking, are free to the public.
More than 50 health-related businesses and professionals will be available to answer questions and provide screenings as well as offer flu and pneumonia vaccines. Representatives from insurance companies also will be available to answer questions.
Last year's expo had more than 500 attendees.
Some of the exhibitors include Anytime Fitness, a franchise of 24-hour fitness centers, which will have personal trainers to offer workout techniques, and Walgreens, which will have representatives to administer flu shots. Medical students from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine will offer free blood pressure and glucose screens.
"People should take advantage of the education that is going to be offered," said Lori Basilone, director of Lakewood Ranch Community Activities.
For the second straight year, visitors will have the opportunity to dispose of dry pill medications using Manatee sheriff's drop off containers.
"They can be disposed of properly and won't end up in our drinking water," Basilone said. "It was very popular last year and they had a lot of people participate."
The medical center also will introduce its new Women and Children's Center, along with representatives from its emergency room, breast cancer and cardiology group. In August, the hospital announced it was adding a six-suite pediatric unit and 24-hour rotating pediatrician position to its emergency room. Saturday's event will provide a demonstration for healthy children's activities along with face painting and a bounce house.
Guests can enter other raffles to win health related gift baskets that will benefit a senior shoe box drive by Meals on Wheels.
"The expo started when the hospital was built and helps to promote local physicians and health companies," Basilone said. "The way it keeps growing with exhibitors makes me believe residents find it useful."
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams